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July 2019

Our review on Drosophila myoblast fusion is published: Lee and Chen, Annu. Rev. Genet.

June 2019

Jun Shi received a travel award from the 14th International Zebrafish Conference

April 2019

Santosh Verma took a faculty position at Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, India

November 2018

Ruihui Zhang was awarded an American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship

October 2018

Ruihui Zhang received the Wellstone Center Travel Award

July 2018

Elizabeth received the American Society for Cell Biology WICB Mid-Career Award for Excellence in Research

July 2018

Nathalie Gerassimov defended her thesis

June 2018

Jun Shi received a 13th International Zebrafish Conference travel award

May 2018

Our paper on the mechanoresponsive protein Spectrin is published: Duan et al., Nat. Cell Biol.

October 2017

Our first zebrafish paper is published: Shi et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.

April 2017

Rui Duan started his faculty position at South China Normal University

July 2016

Donghoon Lee received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

June 2016

Elizabeth received a Faculty Scholar Award from HHMI

June 2016

We moved our lab from Johns Hopkins to UT Southwestern

June 2016

Nathalie Gerassimov received a predoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association (AHA)

June 2015

Khurts Shilagardi received a National Scientist Development Grant from the American Heart Association (AHA)

April 2015

Ji Hoon Kim received the Daniel Nathans Award of the Young Investigator’s Day Program of Johns Hopkins University

April 2015

Cellular ‘Cruise Control’ Systems Let Cells Sense and Adapt to Changing Demands

Cells are the ultimate smart material. They can sense the demands being placed on them during critical life processes and then respond by strengthening, remodeling or self-repairing, for instance. To do this, cells use “mechanosensory” systems similar to the cruise control that lets a car’s engine adjust its power output when going up or down hills.

Researchers are uncovering new details on cells’ molecular cruise control systems. By learning more about the inner workings of these systems, scientists hope ultimately to devise ways to tinker with them for therapeutic purposes.

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February 2015

Mechanical stress is a key driver of cell-cell fusion, study finds

Stained cells

Just as human relationships are a two-way street, fusion between cells requires two active partners: one to send protrusions into its neighbor, and one to hold its ground and help complete the process. Researchers have now found that one way the receiving cell plays its role is by having a key structural protein come running in response to pressure on the cell membrane, rather than waiting for chemical signals to tell it that it's needed. The study helps open the curtain on a process relevant to muscle formation and regeneration, fertilization and immune response.

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March 2013

Johns Hopkins study provides key insight into how cells fuse

Stained cells

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have established a high-efficiency cell-cell fusion system, providing a new model to study how fusion works. The scientists showed that fusion between two cells is not equal and mutual as some assumed, but, rather, is initiated and driven by one of the fusion partners. The discovery, they say, could lead to improved treatments for muscular dystrophy, since muscle regeneration relies on cell fusion to make muscle fibers that contain hundreds or even thousands of nuclei.

The study, published online Mar. 7 in Science, reveals two critical components that have to be present for cell fusion to happen, explains Elizabeth Chen, Ph.D., an associate professor of molecular biology and genetics in the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. Intriguingly, she says, one of these vital components actually changes the structure of one cell’s scaffolding — its cytoskeleton — to form protrusions that push their way into the other cell to initiate fusion.

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July 2012

Rui Duan was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association (AHA)

July 2008

Khurts Shilagardi was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association (AHA)

July 2008

Peng Jin was awarded a predoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association (AHA)